'Wonder Woman' Review Round-Up: The Best DC Extended Universe Superhero Movie Yet

Anticipation is high for Wonder Woman, not simply because it is the first female superhero movie of the modern age of comic book films, but also because it is a ray of hope for the abysmally-reviewed DC Extended Universe movies, stretching from Man of Steel to Suicide Squad. With not a fresh tomato rating in sight for any of the past DCEU movies, could Wonder Woman break the trend? The glass ceiling, so to speak?

Critics have spoken: Wonder Woman is quite simply, wonderful. Director Patty Jenkins' first foray into the DCEU and Wonder Woman's (played by Gal Gadot) first solo foray onto the big screen is a runaway success, presenting an earnest and thrilling superhero movie with old-school charms that everyone seems to agree is the DCEU's best movie yet.

Find out more in our Wonder Woman reviews round-up below.

Entertainment Weekly's Chris Nashtaway says:

"Wonder Woman is smart, slick, and satisfying in all of the ways superhero films ought to be. How deliciously ironic that in a genre where the boys seem to have all the fun, a female hero and a female director are the ones to show the fellas how it's done."

Variety's Andrew Barker praised the film's light tone despite its bleak setting:

"It says quite a lot about the general tenor of the DC cinematic universe that a film set in the trenches of WWI, with a plot revolving around the development of chemical warfare, is nonetheless its most cheerful and kid-friendly entry. But while "Wonder Woman" may dabble in moments of horror, it never revels in the vicissitudes of human depravity quite like its predecessors. A huge factor in its ability to convey a note of inherent goodness lies in Gadot, whose visage radiates dewy-eyed empathy and determination — and whose response to the iniquity of human nature isn't withdrawn cynicism but rather outrage."

USA Today's Kelly Lawler had high praise for the Wonder Woman's control of the different genres within the film:

"It's a female superhero film — which is revolutionary enough by itself — but it's also a genuinely surprising film that plays with genre and throws out the now very tired superhero movie formula. It's an action film, a romantic comedy and a coming-of-age story and a period piece and a war movie all in one. Above all, it's a hopeful story about humanity."

Buzzfeed's Alison Willmore said that the film rose above its clunky in-universe framing and origin story tropes:

What's striking about her turn in the spotlight in Wonder Woman, beyond its milestone status as a female-centric studio superhero feature directed by a woman, is the movie's sense of elated lightness. Aside from the clunky framing device featuring a present-day Diana working at the Louvre, Wonder Woman is freed up to tell a straightforward origin story that takes its title character from a childhood on the Amazon island of Themyscira into the tail end of World War I.

It's a saga, written by Allan Heinberg, with a decent sense of humor, which any story prominently featuring Zeus and a Lasso of Truth demand. Wonder Woman is as outlandish as she is awe-inspiring, and everyone she comes into contact with from the outside world regards her with the appropriate mixture of admiration and disbelief.

Total Film's Kevin Harley agreed, saying star Gadot helped elevate the traditional origin story:

"Granted, it's another origin story. But it's a fresh one, for a heroine whose origin we haven't yet seen at cinemas. And there's a galvanised pulp buzz to the mid-training transition from Diana as a rebellious child to Gadot, whose poise, blazing eyes and sonic-boom wrist-wear issue a resounding message: don't worry, she's got this."

Mashable's Angie Han had even higher praise for Gadot for bringing to life a difficult character:

"If Gal Gadot's all-too-brief appearance in Batman v Superman was promising, she fulfills that potential and then some in Wonder Woman. Diana is a tricky character: She needs to be optimistic but not naive, fierce but not frightening, unquestionably good but not tragically boring, intriguingly alien but not totally inhuman. Gadot, with help from director Patty Jenkins and the screenwriters, get this balance exactly right and gives Diana a disarming warmth that makes it impossible not to love her."

Indiewire's Kate Erbland complimented the film's balance of dark and comedic tones, thanks to Gadot and Chris Pine's chemistry, but noted that it suffers from a villain problem:

"It's a tightrope of tone, and even when 'Wonder Woman' relies on its charm (so much of which stems from the burgeoning romance between Diana and Steve), Jenkins and her film never forget the stakes. Steve's latest mission is dedicated to ending the Germans' nefarious poison-gas program, a facet of war so horrendous that it's easy to understand why Diana becomes convinced that only an actual god like Ares could be behind it. Unfortunately, the film's villains are its weakest link, including an often-flat Danny Huston portraying General Erich Ludendorff (a real-life baddie) and an occasionally compelling Elena Anaya as the so-called Dr. Poison. (Although the choice to have a female baddie go up against Diana is a smart one, it's in need of a deeper exploration.)"

IGN's Joshua Yehl calls Wonder Woman the best DCEU movie yet:

"Wonder Woman is leaps and bounds above the other three entries in the DCEU. With a dramatic setting, a few entertaining action scenes, and a strong supporting cast all working together to tell an inspirational Hero's Journey, it more than offsets some occasionally uneven acting on Gadot's part and some shaky technical aspects. The messy third act fight, however, is something that has plagued other superhero movies and is something even Wonder Woman cannot overcome. Overall, Wonder Woman is a win because it successfully tells the story of a woman taking on a war-torn world with the power of love. What's more heroic than that?"

Dave Schilling from BirthMoviesDeath took it a step further, calling it the best DC movie since The Dark Knight:

"Wonder Woman is unquestionably the best DC superhero film since The Dark Knight, dispensing with the relentlessly grim, cynical take on these iconic characters in favor of embracing an appropriately modern interpretation of the aw shucks sincerity that defined the times in which these heroes were born. Gal Gadot performs the niftiest trick in superhero cinema, playing the origin story of a character she's already introduced in another film. Diana Prince is not the highly confident person challenging Bruce Wayne in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a film Gadot thoroughly stole from the bigger names in the cast. Instead, she plays Diana's strength, plus the vulnerable, optimistic, moral core that was missing from that initial performance."

Uproxx's Mike Ryan noted the timeliness of the film, not just for its feminist message, but its message of hope:

"Wonder Woman is coming out at a good time. This is the movie a lot of us need right now and Wonder Woman is the hero we all kind of need right now: you know, the one who actually makes us feel good. I left feeling like maybe there's still hope in this world. (It didn't last long, but still.) We see assholes on television every day – our so-called 'leaders' – so it's nice to enter a world where at least one person wants to do the right thing, even if she's fictional."

The Associated Press' Lindsey Bahr makes one of the many comparisons to Joe Johnston's World War II-set Captain America: The First Avenger:

"[L]ike the heroine at its center, "Wonder Woman" the movie rises with powerful grace above the noise. It's not perfect, but it's often good, sometimes great and exceptionally re-watchable.

Director Patty Jenkins' film is so threaded with sincerity and goodness it's a wonder how it got past the pugnacious minds responsible for what's come before. 'Wonder Woman' evokes not only the spirit of Richard Donner's 'Superman,' but also Joe Johnston's 'Captain America: The First Avenger,' while still being its own thing. Just look to the image of Gal Gadot confidently striding out alone onto an unwinnable battlefield with only a shield, a sword and a mission — and prevailing. It's enough to give you goosebumps."

The Hollywood Reporter's Sheri Linden applauded the film's lightness, but bemoaned its lengthy runtime:

"Yet as with all comics-based extravaganzas, brevity is anathema to the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman, and it doesn't quite transcend the traits of franchise product as it checks off the list of action-fantasy requisites. But this origin story, with its direct and relatively uncluttered trajectory, offers a welcome change of pace from a superhero realm that's often overloaded with interconnections and cross-references. (A nod to Wayne Enterprises in the story's framing device serves as a fuss-free tie-in to the upcoming Justice League.)"

The rare dissenting voice, The Guardian's Steve Rose said:

"But there's something rather distasteful about co-opting trench warfare as the backdrop to a sanitised, hyper-stylised fantasy. I couldn't help thinking of Kendall Jenner's disastrous "protest chic" Pepsi ad. And when Gadot is called upon to communicate the horrors of war moments later, reeling around dazed and confused in a haze of orange poison gas, it's a moment of Zoolander-esque silliness that brings home how weightless the whole story has become. Gadot is entirely credible as the embodiment of Amazonian perfection, but there's only so much emotion her concerted brow-furrowing can convey."


Wonder Woman is being lauded as the best DC Extended Universe movie to date — and maybe even the best DC film after The Dark Knight — thanks to the star power of Gadot and the expert direction by Jenkins.

Despite problems with lengthy runtimes, a clunky universe-connecting framing device, and weak villains, those issues seem minor compared to the earnest tone, heart-pounding action sequences, and the crackling chemistry between Gadot and Pine.

Wonder Woman hits theaters June 2, 2017.